Joan M. Taylor, PhD
Professor Department of Pathology
Associate Director, McAllister Heart Institute
Dissecting the cellular signaling pathways that regulate normal and aberrant growth in the cardiovascular system. Characterizing the role of adhesion signaling and tyrosine kinases in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and smooth muscle cell growth and migration. Publications.
General Research Program of the Taylor Lab
The overall goal of our research is to characterize the intracellular signaling pathways that govern normal and aberrant growth responses in the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system. We study cell-type specific signaling pathways that regulate coordinated development of the heart and vascular system as well as the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and muscular dystrophies. The laboratory is specifically interested in the intracellular signals initiated by receptors involved in sensing and responding to the surrounding extracellular matrix. Adhesion-dependent clustering of specific transmembrane integrin receptors initiates the recruitment of numerous proteins to their cytoplasmic tails that include both structural and catalytically active signaling proteins and their activation culminates in changes in cell growth, survival, differentiation, and motility. We focus on the non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase, focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and FAK binding partners since activation of FAK within focal adhesions is central to the integrin-dependant signaling. Moreover, our lab has defined a critical role for FAK signaling in cardiovascular development and disease progression. We are now interested in how FAK and associated focal adhesion proteins coordinate the spatial and temporal activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB), and Rho family GTPases and how these signals are integrated to enable appropriate changes in cellular morphology and gene transcription. Our laboratory uses transgenic mouse models and gene knock-out technology coupled with surgical approaches (to interrogate injury response and repair mechanisms) as well as state-of-the art cell biology approaches to track dynamic molecular and cellular processes in real-time. See vascular, cardiac, or skeletal muscle for specific research projects.
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